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Sandringham eyes building its own platform

ABR editor Rob Kingsbury met with Tim Sargisson, recently appointed chief executive officer of Sandringham Financial Partners, to discuss the company’s strategy and positioning in the market. Given Sargisson’s background, the obvious end question was: Are you going to build your own platform?

Tim Sargisson was appointed to the role of CEO at Sandringham Financial Partners in July 2015 with specific responsibility for back-office and infrastructure, while managing director Steve Braidford is focused on growing the business through recruitment, and chair Barry Kayes, also recently appointed, in June 2015, looks to take the company to the AIM market in three years time.

As ex CEO of IFG Financial Services and managing director of James Hay, where he was responsible for the IT and platform, Sargisson’s appointment points to a focus on technology for the company and, given developments in the market, begs the question, is there potential for Sandringham to build its own platform?

The Sandringham infrastructure has three elements: Compliance; Accounting; and the IT system. The latter is where Sargisson sees need for investment.

“The IT system we have in place is not a true end-to-end system. We absolutely have to develop that and I’m looking at how we can do it in a relatively low cost way. It’s the next stage in our development,” he says.

Sargisson believes that Sandringham can develop “relatively low-cost solutions, distinct from the usual proprietary systems you see in most adviser businesses”.

He says: “Small advisers don’t have the time to research the market and see what’s good out there. We can do that for advisers. I spent time recently just looking at the various IT solutions in the market that I think will deliver something quite special and that will help both attract new partners of the kind that we want as well as deliver a better end-to-end solution for all our partners.”

Asked directly if building a platform was part of the strategic plan, Sargisson said: “All I’ll say at this stage is that you’ve got to have control over what it is you want to do. It’s certainly an option. If you look three to five years ahead and ask how can you effectively distribute product, well you’ve got to look at a vertically integrated model, I would think. You’ve got to have control of the means of production.”

He adds that with the current price pressure in the UK platform market and speculation around whether there will be more exits from the market, commercially the business has to look at how it can best maintain stability for the Sandringham partners.

“You’ve got to have something that you know is going to be there long term. If one of the providers you’re using decides the business is going in a different direction and they are going to switch everything off, you have to think about the impact that will have on your business. And you’ve got to have control of data. One of the big issues I see with [third party] platforms is that ultimately you might not control your own data. You’ve got to have control of your own destiny.

“So, if you can have your own advice front-end driving the back-end of the business, then you have more control.”

Log on to AdviserBusinessReview.com on Monday 19 October to see the full interview with Tim Sargisson

Visit the Sandringham website

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